(Washington, DC) –  Following the separate arrests of indicted war criminals Ratko Mladic and Bernard Munyagishari, the Genocide Intervention Network/Save Darfur Coalition praised the arrests as an important step toward justice for victims of genocide, while renewing a call for similar justice for the people of Darfur.  Mark Hanis, Co-Founder and President of Genocide Intervention Network/Save Darfur Coalition issued the following statement:

“International justice has gained two big wins, and the arrests of Ratko Mladic and Bernard Munyagishari send a strong message that the world will not stand by and let crimes against humanity go unpunished.  Unfortunately, the occasion is also a reminder that despite an ICC arrest warrant Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir continues to perpetuate ongoing targeting of civilians, including continued bombing in Darfur and the recent forced displacement of nearly 40,000 residents in Abyei, which UN officials has warned may constitute ‘ethnic cleansing’.”

Background:

Ratko Mladic is the former top Serbian military general who personally oversaw the mass execution of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. Munagishari is the former President of the Interahamwe, accused of orchestrating mass killings and rapes as one of the masterminds behind Rwanda’s 1994 genocide that resulted in the deaths of 800,000 people.

Mladic, known as the butcher of Srebrenica, was captured in Serbia amid growing pressure for the country to do more to arrest him as a pre-condition to membership in the European Union. He was the most wanted war criminal in Europe and will be extradited to the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Munyagishari was captured in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and had been featured in the U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, with a reward of up to $5 million for his capture.

These arrests come two weeks after the completion of a trial finding Augustin Bizumungu, the head of the Rwandan army in 1994 guilty of genocide and three weeks after the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court requested arrest warrants for Muammar Qaddafi and two other Libyan leaders for war crimes.

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The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network merged on November 1, 2010 to create a more powerful voice dedicated to preventing and stopping large-scale, deliberate atrocities against civilians. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities such as Congo and Burma.  The merger creates the world’s largest anti-genocide organization, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists globally, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors collectively representing more than $2 trillion in assets under management.

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